CPSC Alert: Whitco Co. LP Stadium Light Poles Can Fall Over, Posing Risk of Serious Injury and Death

August 24, 2009
Release Number: 09-321

The U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is alerting the public, school officials, facilities managers, and municipal and public safety officials that outdoor steel stadium light poles manufactured by Whitco Co. LP, of Fort Worth, Texas can fracture or crack and fall over, posing a risk of serious injury and death to patrons and bystanders from being hit or crushed. To reduce the risk of injury, Whitco Co. LP outdoor steel stadium light poles should be inspected immediately.

CPSC has confirmed nine incidents in which Whitco Co. LP poles installed from about 2000 through 2006 fell. In one incident, a pole fell through the roof of a school gymnasium causing significant damage. In two incidents, a pole fell onto outdoor bleachers causing significant damage. The majority of incidents occurred in Texas, though the Whitco Co. LP poles have been installed in other states. To date, CPSC is not aware of any injuries.

CPSC has also confirmed that nearly 50 Whitco Co. LP poles that have not fallen had developed fractures and/or cracks next to the weld that joins the pole to its base plate. The fallen and cracked poles were located near or around school football stadiums and gymnasiums.

Whitco Co. LP, formerly located at 7700 Wyatt Drive in Fort Worth, is no longer in business. The poles can be found at facilities such as recreational parks and fields, schools, and outdoor stadiums. The poles are constructed of steel with a galvanized coating, and can range from about 70 to 135 feet tall, and weigh from about 1 to 4 tons.

CPSC recommends that Whitco Co. LP outdoor steel stadium light poles be inspected by a qualified professional immediately to reduce the risk of poles falling over and crushing a patron or bystander. CPSC also recommends that the areas of, and next to, all welds joining a pole to its base plate be inspected for signs of cracking, fractures, or deterioration. Visual examination with the naked eye or with a magnifier will not sufficiently determine the extent of fracturing or cracking. If any of these conditions are found, immediately have the affected poles repaired or replaced by a qualified professional.

CPSC is conducting an investigation concerning these poles and other outdoor steel stadium light poles that may pose a similar concern. CPSC recommends that all outdoor steel stadium light poles be routinely inspected.

If you have information or questions regarding this warning, contact CPSC’s Hotline at (800) 638-2772 anytime or send an e-mail to info@cpsc.gov.

 

CPSC has confirmed nine incidents in which Whitco Co. LP poles installed from about 2000 through 2006 fell. In one incident, a pole fell through the roof of a school gymnasium causing significant damage. In two incidents, a pole fell onto outdoor bleachers causing significant damage. The majority of incidents occurred in Texas, though the Whitco Co. LP poles have been installed in other states. To date, CPSC is not aware of any injuries.

Upright Stadium Light Pole

 

CPSC Alert: Whitco Co. LP Stadium Light Poles Can Fall Over, Posing Risk of Serious Injury and Deathb

Fallen Stadium Light Poles

 

Fallen Stadium Light Polesc

Stadium Light Pole Fallen Through Gymnasium Roof

CPSC Alert: Whitco Co. LP Stadium Light Poles Can Fall Over, Posing Risk of Serious Injury and Deathd

Base Plate of Stadium Light Pole

CPSC Alert: Whitco Co. LP Stadium Light Poles Can Fall Over, Posing Risk of Serious Injury and Deathe

 

Close-up – Crack Near Weld that Joins the Pole to its Base Plate